My husband, daughter and I have struggled with this relationship for six years. She became very depressed after having her two daughters but did not receive any help. My son tried to get help, but they live in Eastern Europe and depression doesn't seem to be recognised there. Anyway, she is very controlling and jealous, especially of our daughter. She has not visited us for more than three years and always uses the children, who are now 5 and 6 1/2 as an excuse. They were recently going to visit us for the birth of our daughter's baby, but pulled out at the very last minute and our son came alone. We were a very happy and close family and welcomed her with open arms, but whe we visit, usually twice a year, she is not especially welcoming. Our son seems to be afraid of her temper and manipulation, but we never criticise her to him. She treats us with disdain on our visits; meals are very scant. We are excluded from much of their family life, for example they had a religious wedding ceremony last year (they had married eight years earlier in a register office over here) but we were not invited. On a recent visit our granddaughters were in a school show and we asked if we could come but again they said no. Likewise, they never come to England for important family occasions (they refused to bring their girls to our daughter's wedding) and they have never spent Christmas with us.
I never know how to handle her and she has very little respect for us. We only go there for the sake of our son and granddaughters. I would appreciate any advice!
Why don't you have an open talk with her while she is alone? See what her issues are and try to sort them may be?